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Local vs. Vegan – Battle of the Greenhouse Gases

Posted by tinako on November 3, 2009

In 2008, Engineers at Carnegie-Mellon issued a report comparing the greenhouse gas reductions attained by eating locally, compared with changing what we eat.

They found that a totally “localized” diet, difficult in many parts of the country, reduces GHG emissions per household equivalent to 1000 miles/yr driven, while shifting just one day per week from red meat and dairy to a vegan diet reduces GHG emissions equivalent to 1160 miles/yr.  Shifting totally away from red meat and dairy toward a vegan diet reduces GHG emissions equivalent to 8100 mi/yr.

For vegetarians, it turns out that dairy is the number two GHG emitter, right after red meat.

Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States

Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2008, 42 (10), pp 3508–3513
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